Arranging Fruit On A Skewer:
Mishnah Berurah 340:37 says that me’amer is only forbidden in the place where the food grew. In Mishnah Berurah 340:38 he adds that it is me’amer to string together dried figs even in the house because that form of “bundling” is also done indoors. Is this second ruling limited to figs because it is so common to string them together or would it apply to any food which people bundle together? An example is that caterers decorate the tables at a kiddush by arranging fruit on skewers, so would that be forbidden as me’amer?
Rav Belsky said that figs which are dried individually are known as grogros and they are not igulei diveilah which are discussed in 340:38. Those are figs which are put into a container while fresh and then crushed and squeezed until the juice comes out. Eventually the figs dry completely as a large chunk and this is known as igulei diveilah (because the container is round). Me’amer is the act of conglomerating multiple items into one unit, so making bundles is transforming stalks into bundles so it is assur and some other cases are also assur mid’rabannan since they are similar to me’amer. Making igulei diveilah is also a transformation of individual figs into a new entity of an igulei diveilah and is therefore assur. However, taking many fruits and placing them together to make a display of many fruits is in no way a transformation of them into a new unit and is therefore permitted.
Part of a series of questions and answers about the Sabbath that have arisen within the Orthodox Union Kosher Division.